- March 2, 2011
Bill Cowles, Orange County Supervisor of Elections, announced today that he will not be seeking re-election.
Cowles, who is the county’s longest serving supervisor of elections, will retire at the end of his current term, Jan. 6, 2025.
“It has been the role of a lifetime to be trusted by the citizens of Orange County to conduct secure elections with the highest standards of integrity," Cowles said in a press release. "After a fulfilling 33 years, which will be 35 years at the end of the term, first as chief deputy and now supervisor, it is time to pass the torch and retire to private life and enjoy time with my wife and four grandsons."
Since his appointment as the supervisor of elections in 1996, Cowles has seen his fair share of election excitement.
The 1997 Penny Sales Tax election was the first county-wide election he conducted, and it was declared by the United States Postal Service to be the largest mail-ballot election at the time.
Cowles’ first presidential election was the 2000 election and the most contentious election he has overseen was the presidential race of 2020.
Cowles will leave the office having assembled a team of professionals who has more than 300 years of elections experience combined. Several senior staff members have more than 15 years of experience each.
Cowles graduated with a degree in public administration from the University of Central Florida in 1976.
He served 13 years on the staff of the Central Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America prior to joining the elections team as chief deputy.
Cowles supervises the fifth-largest county elections office in Florida, to which he has been re-elected in every election since his appointment.
He created the “Adopt-A-Precinct” program, a community partnership that allows organizations to serve the community as poll workers while team-building and fundraising for their cause, in 1998.
Cowles served on the Federal Elections Assistance Commission Board of Advisors from 2007 to 2011. His other professional involvements include being past president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, as well as past president of the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers.
In adddition, he is an elder at Quest Church, a board member of the CFCBSA, a member of the UCF Public Administration Advisory Board, and a member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of North Orlando.